Traveling With Laxatives: Japan Edition

can I take laxatives to japan

Laxatives are available to buy in Japan, and there are several brands to choose from. However, it is recommended that you consult a pharmacist before purchasing, as some laxatives can cause stomach aches. It is also important to note that you should always follow the directions and dosage instructions on the packaging. If you are experiencing constipation, there are other remedies you can try, such as increasing your fibre intake, drinking coffee, or eating prunes.


Laxatives in Japan: brands and types

Laxatives are available in Japan, both over the counter and on

One popular laxative brand in Japan is Colac (コーラック), which comes in many varieties, including:

  • Colac II, which contains a substance that lets water seep through hardened stool and softens it.
  • Colac Fiber, a plant fibre-based, herbal remedy that also contains vitamin B6.
  • Colac Soft, which is for a mild effect and is recommended for first-time users.
  • Colac Herb, another herbal remedy for a mild effect.
  • Colac Zayaku, a suppository for a mild effect.

Another laxative that can be purchased in Japan is コーラックハーブ, which is available in a green box.

Other laxatives available in Japan include:

  • Byurakku (ビューラック), a strong constipation medicine that stimulates the stomach to help pass stools.
  • Takeda Chinese Medicine for Constipation, a medicine made based on a Chinese medicine called “daiokansoto.”
  • Wakamoto, a digestive medicine that contains brewer’s yeast and lactic acid bacteria.
  • EBIOS (エビオス), another popular digestive medicine that contains brewer’s yeast.

Remember to always consult a medical professional before taking any new medication.

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Finding English-speaking chemists in Tokyo

Finding English-speaking pharmacies in Tokyo

If you are looking for an English-speaking pharmacy in Tokyo, there are a few options. Firstly, you can try using a database or list of local hospitals and clinics provided by local governments. While this information may not always be up to date, it can be a good starting point. You can also try using a search engine like ESTDOC, which specifically provides information on doctors in Tokyo.

Additionally, there are organisations like Japan Healthcare Info (JHI) that offer free services to help you find English-speaking clinics and hospitals in your area. They can also provide assistance with appointment scheduling and coordination for a fee. This can be especially helpful if you need help with registration and communication barriers.

Koyasu Pharmacy:

  • Roppongi store: 7-14-7 Ropponngi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • Hiroo Garden store: Hiroo Garden F1, 4-1-29 Minamiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • Accepts WeChat pay and virtual currency

Sakura Pharmacy:

  • Located in Tokyo Midtown: Midtown Tower 6F, 9 Chome-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • Provides OTC medicine

The Pharmacy at Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic:

  • Address: 32 Shiba Koen Building, 3-4-30 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • Has an on-site pharmacy for convenience

These pharmacies should be able to assist you in English and help meet your medical needs while in Tokyo. It is always a good idea to consult with a doctor or pharmacist about any specific medications or treatments you require.


Japanese words for constipation and laxatives

Constipation in Japanese is "benpi" (便秘). The word for laxatives is "shagezai" or "gezai" (瀉下薬, 下薬).

Some common laxatives in Japan include Colac (コーラック), which comes in several varieties, including Colac II, Colac Fiber, Colac Soft, Colac Herb, and Colac Zayaku. Other laxatives include Byurakku, a high-strength constipation medicine with the active ingredient sodium picosulfate, and Ebios, a probiotic that contains vitamins and brewer's yeast.

Traditional Japanese medicine for constipation includes Daikenchuto (TJ-100), which is made from processed ginger, ginseng, and zanthoxylum fruit. This herbal medicine has been shown to alleviate constipation and reduce bloating and abdominal pain in patients with chronic constipation.

Some other natural herbal laxatives available in Japan include senna tablets, made from senna leaves, and aloe tablets, made from Cape aloe extract.


Natural ways to relieve constipation

Constipation is no laughing matter. It can leave you feeling bloated and miserable, and if left untreated, it can lead to more serious issues such as hemorrhoids or rectal prolapse. While laxatives may seem like the quickest solution, they can be harsh on the body and may even lead to physical dependence. Instead, try these natural ways to relieve constipation:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink at least four to six glasses of fluids per day, with water and fruit juices being the best options. Limit caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda, as they can dehydrate you further.
  • Increase your fiber intake: Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30 grams for men. Good sources of fiber include Brussels sprouts, apples, figs, bran cereal, black beans, and whole grains.
  • Establish a daily routine: Try to have a bowel movement at the same time each day, preferably after a meal when the emptying reflex is strongest. Having a set schedule helps prevent constipation and makes it easier to pass stool.
  • Avoid straining: Straining can lead to hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or rectal prolapse. If you're having trouble passing stool, increase your fiber and fluid intake or use a stool softener to make things easier.
  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity, particularly walking, helps stimulate your gut and promotes regular bowel movements. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week to keep things moving smoothly.
  • Try natural laxatives: If you're struggling to find relief, consider using natural laxatives like Colac, which is a popular option in Japan. Senna is another herbal laxative that stimulates the nerves in the gut to speed up bowel movements.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics may help prevent constipation by improving the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Try eating probiotic-rich foods or taking a probiotic supplement to see if it helps.
  • Avoid dairy: Dairy products can cause constipation in people with an intolerance. If you suspect dairy is an issue, consult your doctor and consider removing it from your diet while increasing other calcium-rich foods.
  • Drink carbonated water: Some people find that carbonated water helps relieve constipation by rehydrating and stimulating the digestive system. However, avoid sugary sodas, as they can have harmful health effects and may worsen constipation.
  • Drink coffee: Coffee stimulates the muscles in the digestive system and can increase the urge to go to the bathroom. However, caffeine may worsen symptoms for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
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Over-the-counter laxatives in Japan

Japan has a wide range of over-the-counter laxatives available, which can be purchased at drugstores and pharmacies. However, it can be challenging to find an English-speaking chemist or pharmacist, and product instructions are often written solely in Japanese. Here is a guide to help you navigate the options available.

Colac (コーラック)

Colac is a well-known laxative brand in Japan, with several varieties:

  • Colac II: This version contains an ingredient that allows water to seep through hardened stool, softening it. The dosage can be adjusted according to its effect.
  • Colac Fiber: This variety is plant-fibre-based and contains herbal remedies and vitamin B6, which can help with skin problems caused by constipation. It comes in granule form.
  • Colac Soft: This option is designed for a mild effect and is recommended for first-time users as it is less likely to cause tummy aches.
  • Colac Herb: This is another herbal remedy option, also intended for a mild effect.
  • Colac Zayaku: This is a suppository for a mild effect.

Byurakku (ビューラック)

Byurakku is a high-strength constipation medicine that stimulates the stomach to help pass stools. It is recommended for stubborn constipation. The active ingredient is sodium picosulfate, a stimulant laxative sometimes used by medical professionals to prepare patients for surgery. It comes in packs of fifty, and it is recommended to avoid taking it with milk or other medications as this can reduce its effectiveness.

Kokando Pharmaceutical Co. Laxatives

Kokando Pharmaceutical Co. offers a range of laxatives:

  • BEAULUCK AType 2 Medicine: Sugar-coated tablets with bisacodyl as the main ingredient, which stimulates colonic mucosa to increase intestinal peristalsis and promote bowel movements.
  • BEAULUCK SOFTType 2 Medicine: Sugar-coated tablets containing picosulfate sodium, which increases intestinal peristalsis and promotes bowel movements by inhibiting water absorption in the intestine. This laxative is non-habituating and suitable for first-time users, the elderly, and those who need pain-free bowel movements.
  • KOKANDO KAMPO BENPIYAKUType 2 Medicine: Uncoated tablets containing a mild laxative made from rhubarb and licorice decoction (a traditional Chinese medicine). This extract increases intestinal motility by stimulating the colon and is recommended for first-time users, those with mild constipation, and the elderly with weak digestion.
  • SENNA TabletsType ② Medicine: Uncoated tablets containing a natural herbal laxative made from Senna leaves, which stimulate the colon to induce bowel movements.
  • ALOE TabletsType 3 Medicine: Uncoated tablets containing a natural herbal laxative made from Cape aloe extract, which stimulates the intestinal wall to induce bowel movements and softens hard stools by increasing water in the colon.

Other Options

In addition to the above, the following laxatives are available over the counter in Japan:

  • Contrex mineral water: This can be effective in providing relief from constipation.
  • High-fibre snack bars: These are often available in convenience stores and can help with constipation.
  • Roperamakkusatto: A medicine to stop diarrhoea.
  • STOPPA: Another diarrhoea medication that can be taken without water.
  • Takeda Chinese Medicine for Constipation: A milder option based on a Chinese medicine called "daiokansoto." It is recommended to be taken before sleeping and should be avoided by breastfeeding mothers.

Language Tips

To help you navigate the language barrier when seeking laxatives in Japan, here are some useful phrases and terms:

  • "shagezai" or "gezai" (瀉下薬, 下薬): These are the Japanese words for laxatives, which you can show to a pharmacist.
  • "benpi" (便秘): This means constipation.
  • "hajimete desu": This phrase means "first time" and can be used to indicate that you are a first-time user of laxatives.

Additional Considerations

When dealing with constipation or other digestive issues, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and fluid intake. Increasing your fibre intake and staying hydrated can help improve digestion and alleviate constipation. Additionally, some natural remedies, such as yoghurt and Manuka honey, can be beneficial.

Please note that this information is not a substitute for medical advice, and it is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional for personalised guidance.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, laxatives are sold in Japan.

Popular laxative brands in Japan include Colac, Colac II, Colac Fiber, Colac Soft, and Colac Herb and Byurakku.

Laxatives can be purchased at drugstores and pharmacies in Japan.

Yes, some alternatives to laxatives include increasing fiber intake, drinking coffee, and consuming probiotics or digestive wellness products such as Ebios.

Yes, some people may experience stomachaches or addiction to laxatives. It is recommended to consult a pharmacist or healthcare professional before taking any new medication.

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